Central Air vs. Split Air Conditioner in Hawaii

January 27th, 2021

When most people think of the Hawaiian islands, they think of warm breezes, beautiful tropical settings, and plenty of sunshine.

If you aren’t from the islands, you may also assume that houses in the area primarily require air conditioning units and no heaters. 

While many homes have a split air conditioner in Hawaii, these homes’ heating and cooling needs are different from those in other areas of the United States.

A technician removing a filter from an A/C unit

Hawaii Air Conditioner and Heater Requirements

Contrary to popular belief, the Hawaiian islands go through seasonal changes, even if they are not nearly as drastic as in the Midwest and Eastern Coast of the United States. Indeed, many homes in Hawaii do not require a traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. 

The average temperature ranges between a balmy 78- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. However, that doesn’t mean that houses don’t have some form of heating unit in them, especially for those chillier winter months.

Seasonal Changes in Hawaii

Unlike the rest of the U.S., Hawaii only experiences two seasons throughout the year. 

Summer and winter.

These seasons don’t fall within the same periods as it does in other parts of the U.S. The winter months on the mainland usually occur from December through February, and the summer months are typically June through September. 

In the Hawaiian islands, these seasons are split up a bit differently. The summer months usually fall between May and October, while the winter months fall between November and April. While the average temperature between each season is only about a seven-degree difference, when you’re used to warm, tropical temps, even 70 degrees Fahrenheit can seem cold. 

Instead of installing a large HVAC unit, most homeowners choose to go with a ductless heating and air conditioning system.

Maintaining a Comfortable Home: HVAC or Mini-Split Unit?

When it comes to maintaining a comfortable home in Hawaii, it’s essential to know your options. 

For some people, their homes are designed so that the natural Hawaiian trade winds provide plenty of air movement and ventilation throughout the home, and they may have no real need for an HVAC or mini-split unit. 

However, what one person finds comfortable, another may find too chilly or even stifling hot. For this reason, more Hawaiian homes are being remodeled and built with heaters and air conditioners. The choice then hangs between whether to install a traditional HVAC unit or a mini-split unit. 

So, how do you choose between one or the other? By being properly informed on how each one works.

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Units

A traditional HVAC unit is an extensive system that keeps air moving throughout your home by using a complex duct system. These systems help control the temperature and humidity within your home while also filtering the air you breathe. 

The system’s functioning begins outside with your central unit. It draws in the surrounding air and runs in through a series of filters (the number and location of filters will depend on the individual system), helping to rid the air of any large particles or pollution while also reducing access humidity. The air is then either heated or cooled and distributed throughout the home via the duct system. These run underneath the floor, through the walls, and/or the ceiling. 

There are several different types of HVAC units worth considering, including: 

  • Single-stage 
  • Multi-stage 
  • Zoned systems 
  • Systems with or without humidity control options 

Mini-Split Units

These units are often referred to as ductless heating or air conditioning unit. Some consumers mistake them for a traditional window or wall AC unit, yet they are quite different. 

Mini-split air conditioning and heating units are hung on the wall. But, they only require a small drilled hole instead of keeping your window cracked open or requiring a massive frame built for a wall unit. 

Mini-split units come in several different forms, including: 

  • Single-zone 
  • Multi-zone 
  • Wall-mounted 
  • Floor-mounted 
  • Ceiling cassette 
  • Concealed duct 

Many people enjoy these split AC and heating units because they are only used in a single room, which helps cut energy costs for the home. 

Can You Get by with Only a Split Air Conditioner in Hawaii?

The good news? Yes, most individuals can get by and live a healthy, comfortable life with just a simple split air conditioner in the home. 

Since the average temperature on the islands doesn’t reach far below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, there really is no need to install a dedicated heating unit in the home. However, with temperatures that can rise well above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, many people, especially the elderly and those with breathing conditions, require some form of AC unit in the home. 

An AC unit can also help: 

  • Decrease the number of viruses and insects in your home
  • Improve your overall sleep quality 
  • Decrease your chances of dehydration due to constant sweating 
  • Decrease the overall noise pollution in the home, especially for those living in busy cities
  • Keep your electronic devices from overheating, and more 

That said, if you are looking for a system that can heat and cool your home, you do not necessarily need a clunky HVAC system. Instead, you can opt for a ductless system that produces both hot and cold air. You simply need to get a heat pump for the outdoor unit. 

Get an Expert Opinion from Island Comfort Air Conditioning

When it’s time to decide between the right heating and cooling system for your home, you should seek the best possible advice. If you’re unsure about whether you need a traditional HVAC system or a split air conditioner in Hawaii, you should have a conversation with the experts. 

Our Island Comfort team isn’t only familiar with the many options for mini-split units but is also familiar with traditional HVAC systems. This means that we can help you decide not only what’s best for your home but also what’s best for your overall health and wellbeing. 

Island Comfort air conditioning services go well beyond selling you a product. We’ll also manage your installation and help with maintenance and repairs. We treat your home as if it’s our own, leaving it better than we found it whenever possible. 

We’ll come to you for your consultation, delivering years of experience and know-how to your door. If you choose to do business with Island Comfort, please know that your satisfaction means everything to us. 

Contact Island Comfort Air Conditioning to schedule your consultation today.

Should My AC Be on AUTO or ON?

October 20th, 2020

It depends on your purpose. Many argue for both sides, and most of the time, they are all correct. 

However, many Hawaii homeowners don’t understand that both the ON and AUTO thermostat settings are useful for their intended purposes. 

In this article, we will identify the benefits and disadvantages of switching the thermostat to the ON and AUTO settings, so that you can decide which mode to use for your specific air conditioning needs. 

A digital thermostat on a wall

What is a Thermostat?

First, let’s understand what a thermostat is and how it works. 

A thermostat is your air conditioner’s remote control. It senses your room’s temperature and instructs your AC unit to adjust by cycling longer until it reaches your desired temperature and cycles off after that. 

It is a handy device that can curb your AC unit’s energy consumption as it provides cooling, comfort, and excellent indoor air quality. 

  • A programmable thermostat lets you schedule different temperature settings based on your needs. A smart version learns your schedule and activities and can adjust the room temperature based on energy efficiency. 
  • A manual thermostat typically has a digital display that shows your desired temperature, which you can set with a button’s push. It has limited features and needs to be manually switched on and off. 
  • An analog thermostat is the oldest type and uses a dial which you need to turn right or left to your desired temperature. 

What Does the Thermostat's AUTO Setting Do?

The thermostat’s ON and AUTO settings control the AC unit’s blower, which distributes and circulates the air inside your home. 

On AUTO mode, the fan turns on automatically when cooling or heating your air. It also turns off automatically upon reaching the desired temperature indicated in the thermostat. 

AUTO Setting Advantages

These are the benefits of setting your thermostat to AUTO mode: 

  • Energy Efficiency. You save more energy and reduce your energy bill because the AC unit isn’t at work all the time. Your air conditioner cycles off immediately once it reaches the desired room temperature. 
  • Fewer Air Filter Replacements. You don’t need to clean or replace your air filters as often because the air conditioner is not working 24/7. But you still need to clean them at least every two months to keep your AC unit working properly and save on energy.
  • Efficient Temperature Control. You have total control over the air conditioning system because all you have to do is set your desired temperature, and the AC unit will follow. For example, you can adjust the temperature to five degrees higher than the average if you want to save more energy. Once the AC reaches that temperature, the thermostat automatically tells the AC to cycle off. 
  • Better Dehumidification. Moisture from the cooling coils has enough time to drip and drain outside. 

AUTO Setting Disadvantages 

These are the reasons why you shouldn’t set you thermostat to AUTO mode: 

  • Hot and Cold Spots. The air distribution throughout the house may be uneven, leaving some areas colder than others. It’s because the fan is turned off once the thermostat senses that the desired temperature has been reached and stops distributing cold air. 
  • Limited Air Circulation. Since the AC unit cycles off once it reaches your desired temperature, the air does not circulate through the air conditioner until the next cycle. This leaves dust, particulates, contaminants, and moisture mixed in the air and not trapped in the air filters. 
  • Blower Fan Wear and Tear. Frequent start-and-stop cycles will eventually take a toll on the AC’s blower fan, especially without regular maintenance. 

 

What Does the Thermostat's ON Setting Do?

When your thermostat is on the ON setting, the AC unit’s blower fan continuously blows air even when the air conditioner is not heating or cooling the room. 

ON Setting Advantages 

Switching your thermostat to ON mode has these benefits: 

  • Equal Air Distribution. With the blower fan consistently at work, cold air is distributed to all areas of your home evenly. You don’t have to worry about the hot temperature in the basement and chilling temperature in the upstairs bedrooms since the fan balances out the air distribution. 
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality. As indoor air continuously circulates in the room, the air filters also consistently catch the air contaminants and particulates for improved indoor air quality. Clean indoor air is beneficial, especially for children, the elderly, or family members with asthma and allergies
  • Fewer Cycles. Not having to turn your AC unit on and off frequently can extend its years of serviceability since there is less stress on the blower fan. 

ON Setting Disadvantages 

These are the cons to programming your thermostat to ON mode: 

  • Higher Energy Bill. Expect higher energy consumption and utility bills because the AC is working non-stop.
  • Frequent Air Filter Replacement. Your air filters catch and trap contaminants and allergens more often because your AC is working all the time. To avoid clogged air filters and malfunctions, you need to clean and change the air filters more frequently than usual, at least once a month. 
  • Overworked Blower Fan. Without proper and regular maintenance, your air conditioner may experience blower fan malfunctions from working non-stop. 

Practical Thermostat Tips

Choosing between the ON and AUTO settings is a personal preference. Choose the ON setting if you have children, pets, and family members with asthma and allergies to ensure clean indoor air every time. 

Choose AUTO mode if you are keen on cutting down your monthly energy bill. 

You can alternate both options depending on the situation. Choose the ON mode when everyone is at home for maximum comfort. 

At night, you can switch to AUTO mode when the outside temperature is not too hot. You can also use the AUTO mode before leaving your home and when no one else is around. 

Also, follow these simple thermostat tips to enjoy comfort and convenience without high energy costs: 

  • Invest in a smart thermostat that automatically controls room temperature based on your preferences and activities. 
  • Raise the room temperature at night or when you are going out to save ten percent on energy use. 
  • Place your thermostat away from direct sunlight and heat-producing devices. This way, it won’t pick up the wrong temperature and overwork your AC unit. 

AC Maintenance with Island Comfort

Ensure that your thermostat and air conditioner are always working correctly and at their best to deliver comfort and excellent indoor air quality at a reasonable cost. 

Contact Island Comfort at (888) 781-0364 for fast and reliable AC installation, repair, and maintenance services.

What’s the Most Efficient Way to Run Your AC at Home?

September 21st, 2020

No one likes to spend more than they need to on electricity – especially in Hawaii. 

Hawaii residents pay more per kilowatt than anyone else in the country. It’s important to cut costs anywhere you can without sacrificing comfort.

What’s the most efficient way to run your AC? 

Should you turn it off while you’re at work or just turn the temp up?

What else can you do to ensure your AC is running in top shape? 

Each home is unique so let’s go over everything you need to know.

Air conditioner and remote

A/C Efficiency Tips

Running your AC unit in an efficient setting with proper maintenance can help you save money and stay comfortable.

  • An efficient AC keeps your energy bills down.
  • You can avoid overworking your system, leading to a breakdown.
  • Your system will do a better job of keeping your air clean.
  • Your home will stay at a consistent temperature.

At Island Comfort, we want to empower you with information to care for your system and save money. Use the tips below to make sure you’re following best practices for energy efficiency.  

Turn It Off When You’re Not Home

It’s always best for your system and wallet to turn your AC unit off when you’re not home. 

Some argue it requires more energy to start your unit up and pull the temperature down, but that’s not true. Leaving your A/C unit on requires more energy and overworks your system. Take any chance you can to give it a break.

If you have pets or your home gets overwhelmingly hot during the day, keep our unit on but turn the temperature into the high 70s or low 80s.

Set the Temperature as High as Possible

It’s tempting to set the thermostat low on sweltering days, but your AC won’t appreciate it.

You want to keep your thermostat set as close to the outdoor temperature as possible.

Keeping your AC unit at 75 (instead of 70) when it’s 90 out will prevent overworking the machine to keep the house cool. If you set it too low on hot days, your unit might never shut off.

Don’t Fiddle with the Thermostat

Set your desired thermostat temperature and leave it alone. Every time you change the temperature, your AC runs to keep up. You could end up running the unit longer than needed and waste energy.

Make Sure Your Windows and Doors are Well-Sealed

Hawaii’s jalousie windows are nice for drawing in cool trade winds but they do nothing to help your HVAC system. 

Proper seals around your windows and doors prevent cool air from seeping out and warm are from creeping in. 

It’s also smart to avoid running heat-generating appliances like ovens so your AC doesn’t compete with them.

Insulate Your Attic

Your attic is the barrier between the sun and your home. Have you ever touched a sunny rooftop? It’s extremely hot! 

Without insulation, the heat from the sun penetrates and heats your home. Your AC unit must work overtime to keep the air cool. If you live on a sunny part of the island, your AC unit might never turn off!

Attic insulation can also prevent your freshly cooled air from escaping. 

Change Your Filter Regularly

A clogged filter interferes with air intake. Your system won’t be able to pull in – nor blow out – sufficient air. 

You’ll also notice your unit gets extremely dusty as debris accumulates around the outside of the filter.

Ideally, change your air filter every 60 to 90 days. If someone in your home has allergies or you have pets, change it every 30 to 60 days. 

The EPA recommends filters with a MERV rating of at least 13 if your system allows it.

Keep Your AC Set to “Auto”

Again, it’s better energy-wise for your unit to turn on and off throughout the day instead of running constantly. 

Setting your AC fan to “on” means it will never shut off – even after your home has reached the desired temperature. 

Keep your thermostat on “auto” and set your temperature to around 75-degrees for ideal efficiency.

Make Sure Your Evaporator Coils are Clean

Dust from a dirty filter also builds up around your evaporator coils.

Your evaporator coils dehumidifies your air. When they’re dirty, your AC will blow out warm or balmy air. 

Need cleaning or tune-up? Let the experts at Island Comfort handle it. We’ll also replace any faulty parts to prevent emergency repairs and charge your refrigerant. 

Supplement Your AC with a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans don’t change the temperature of a room. They do, however, increase the wind chill which makes it feel cooler than it actually is.

For example, you could set your thermostat to 80 degrees but a ceiling fan would make it feel 76 or 75. 

Your AC unit will run much less often if you can keep the temperature set higher. A ceiling fan only costs about 1 cent to run per hour. An AC unit, however, costs about 36 cents. You’ll save plenty of money.

Run the Appropriate Size AC Unit for Your Home

Every home has specific AC needs. 

If you have a large home but rely on several small window units, you’ll definitely notice the cost of your electric bill. You’ll also waste more energy if your central unit is too small for your home.

In many cases, a ductless mini-split system can help you compromise. 

Let our experts investigate your home, listen to your needs, and help you find the best system for your home. Installing a new system could save you money overall.

Consider Your Thermostat’s Location

Is your thermostat near a sunny wall? How about a drafty window?

If your thermostat is in an unusually warm place in your home, it will read a higher temperature than the rest of the house. 

Your AC unit will continue running to keep up with that set temperature.

If you can’t move the thermostat, at least set it to a higher temperate to compensate for the warmer location.

Need a Tune-Up? Call the Friendly Experts at Island Comfort

Confused as to why your energy bill is so high? Annoyed by inconsistent temperatures? Our experts at Island Comfort will come to investigate and diagnose the problem with a smile. 

You can count on us to find the best ways to save money without sacrificing quality and comfort.

Watch our videos to see what Island Comfort customers across Oahu, Kauai, and Big Island have to say!

7 Benefits of an Air Conditioner Installation

August 11th, 2020

With Hawaii having consistent warm weather throughout the year, having an air conditioning system inside homes has been the norm for many. 

With temperatures reaching more than 90 °F during the summer, ACs have become a necessity more than a luxury in every Kona, Oahu, and Kauai household. 

However, some families still skip the option of having an air conditioning system installed in their homes for fear of additional costs.

While the cost of air conditioning installation might seem like a drawback, the myriad of benefits an AC unit in your home offers is noteworthy. 

An air conditioner with blue air coming out

Why Do I Need an Air Conditioner Installed in My Home?

Who does not want to live in comfort? An AC unit gives you comfort and also provides improved indoor air quality for a better quality of life. Here are some benefits of air conditioner installation: 

1) Reduces Health Risks 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies extreme heat as a major public health concern in the United States and recommends the use of air-conditioned buildings as safe locations during high temperatures. 

With temperatures becoming hotter as years pass by, installing an AC unit is a sound investment to prevent heat strokes. 

Stay hydrated under hot weather conditions. A lower room temperature from your air conditioner means less sweating and prevents dehydration. 

2 ) Improves Indoor Air Quality 

When you do not have an air conditioning system, you need to keep windows open to let the air inside and expel the hot temperature. 

However, by opening your windows, you are also welcoming allergens and pollutants inside, compromising the quality of the air you breathe and increasing the risk of allergies and respiratory problems for you and your family. 

Air conditioning prevents mold, mildew, pollen, and other airborne outdoor allergens, which trigger asthma attacks and chronic allergies, from entering your house. 

The air filter of your AC unit also traps indoor allergens like dust mites and pet dander and prevent particulates and contaminants from circulating in your room. 

3) Enhances Productivity 

Bearing with hot temperatures disrupts the mood and can cause some people to be counterproductive, aggressive, or destructive. 

Extreme heat also prevents people from focusing on crucial tasks, such as reviewing for an exam or preparing for a client presentation. 

An AC unit improves the level of comfort and can help keep your mind clear and ready to tackle the tasks for the day. It can help improve your mood and keep your mental health from deteriorating. 

4) Improves Quality of Sleep 

Sleeping under high temperatures can be a terrible experience. Even if you manage to fall asleep, you will wake up in a sweat and can get moody, irritable, and have low energy because of the poor quality of your sleep. 

A cooler room temperature leads to better sleep that will more likely make you wake up in a good mood. 

5) Prevents Devices from Overheating 

High temperatures can cause your electrical devices and appliances to overheat. Heat can shorten the lifespan and damage your mobile phone, microwave, toaster, and other electric items. 

Running an air conditioning system lowers the room temperature and helps prevent your electronics from overheating. 

6) Protects Furniture and Personal Belongings 

Hot temperatures bring high humidity that affects the texture of your hair and skin and can also ruin your upholstery and leather furniture which absorb moisture and grow mold. 

An AC unit improves the level of humidity and helps prevent your leather furniture and clothes from growing mold and mildew. 

7) Enhances Home Security 

Keeping doors and windows shut to contain the cold temperature also prevents unwanted people from entering your house. 

Not all areas have extra security so that keeping your doors, windows, and other entryways closed keeps your living spaces more secure. 

Closing doors and windows also mean lesser outdoor noise will enter your room. 

Which AC Unit is Best for my Home? 

When cooling a single room or area in a home, homeowners usually opt for a portable or window-type air conditioner. Window-type AC units cost the cheapest. However, they are limited to cooling smaller spaces. You will need to install one window-type unit per room. 

A central air conditioning system distributes cold air from a central compressor across rooms through fans and ductwork. A central air conditioning system cools an entire house but can cost you $3,000 or more. 

A mini-split air conditioner falls between these two main types and offers some of the advantages of both at a midway price point. A mini-split air conditioner does not have ductwork and has two main parts: an outdoor compressor and an indoor condenser. 

Ductless mini-split AC systems can connect one outdoor compressor to as many as eight condenser units in different rooms. You can create zoned heating and cooling wherein you can control the temperature of areas of your house separately. 

This type of air conditioning system has become widely popular due to its relative affordability compared to a central air conditioning system and advantages over a window-type air conditioner. 

  • A mini-split system mounts at the top of the wall so that it is less intrusive than a window-type air conditioner. 
  • A mini-split AC’s compressor is outside the house so that it is quiet indoors. 
  • A mini-split system cools a specific area for lesser energy consumption and lowers energy bills compared to a central air conditioning system. 
  • A ductless mini-split is quicker and less expensive to install than a whole-house air conditioning system. 
  • A mini-split heat pump uses 60% less energy than other types because it transfers heat rather than generate it. 

Air Conditioner Installation in Kauai, Oahu, and Kona 

Installing an air conditioning system can be one of your best investments that will bring you enhanced productivity, improved health, and comfortable living. 

However, if you choose the wrong type of AC for your room or if you install it wrong, you might end up wasting money and energy. Consult air conditioning professionals to help you find the perfect air conditioning unit for your house. 

At Island Comfort, we will be glad to give you expert advice before you purchase an AC unit. We will be happy to install your air conditioning system in your house and walk you through the process of operating it and keeping it in tip-top shape. 

For quick and reliable air conditioning system installation, repair, and maintenance services in Kauai, Oahu, and Kona, call Island Comfort at (888) 781-0364 and schedule an appointment today. 

Should You Run Your Ceiling Fans and AC Together?

August 11th, 2020
A ceiling fan

Living in Hawaii, we all have at least two things in common: we want to stay cool during the scorching summer days and we want to save money. 

Hawaii residents already deal with some of the highest electricity bills (and cost of living) in the nation. Air conditioning is one of the biggest expenses driving up electric bills across the islands. 

But should you run a ceiling fan with your AC unit? Will it keep your home cooler so you can run the AC less? Will it help you save money on your electricity bill? 

It depends. 

Every home is different, and how you run your ceiling fan and AC in tandem also matters. 

If you’re looking for ways to save money on air conditioning costs even further, give our experts at Island Comfort a call. We can perform a 32-Point Tune-Up so your system runs as efficiently as possible and offer suggestions for an energy-efficient upgrade if that’s your goal. 

How Do Ceiling Fans Work?

Many people don’t realize that ceiling fans don’t change the temperature in a room. Nope! What they do is add wind chill, which makes it feel cooler. 

Think about how you check the weather before heading to North Shore. Your app might tell you the air temperature is 83 degrees, but with the wind chill, it feels more like 78. Even if the wind’s air is also 83 degrees, the act of the wind passing over your skin makes it feel cooler than it really is. 

That’s how ceiling fans work. 

Ceiling fans were invented and made their way into residential homes long before air conditioning was even a thought. The technology behind them, while simple, is extremely efficient. By increasing the wind chill of a room, a ceiling fan can make it feel up to 5 degrees cooler. 

The Size of Fan Blades Matters

Not all ceiling fans are the same. Sorry to say, but those chic little palm leaf blades aren’t the best choice from a comfort and energy standpoint. 

The shorter the blade, the less efficient the fan. It might seem like a wide and short blade would work simply fine, similar to a hand-held fan. However, you ideally want a ceiling fan with very long blades. 

Long blades are also more efficient. You can check the efficiency of your fan if you still have the manual. You could check the top of the fan for a sticker label as well. 

Ceiling Fans Can Add Unnecessary Heat

Anything with a motor generates heat. The longer you run a piece of machinery, the more heat it will generate. 

Your ceiling fan is no different. As your ceiling fan runs, it generates heat, which in turn heats the air around it. This is important to remember when you consider that the wind from ceiling fans doesn’t actually cool down the air – it just increases the wind chill and makes it feel cooler. 

How to Choose the Right Ceiling Fan for Your Room 

First, it’s important to understand how to use your ceiling fan most efficiently. Energy.gov recommends following these strategies: 

  • Make sure your ceilings are at least eight feet high. 
  • The fan blades should measure between seven and nine feet above the floor. 
  • The fan blades should sit between ten and 12 inches below the ceiling. 
  • There should be at least 18 inches of space between fan blades and any surrounding walls. 

Energy.gov also recommends using a 36-44-inch diameter fan for rooms up to 225 square feet. A fan 52-inches or larger should be placed in larger rooms. If your room is longer than 18 feet, it’s best to install two fans rather than one large fan. 

How to Use Your Ceiling Fan and AC Unit in Tandem 

Now that you understand how ceiling fans work and their effects, here’s how to use your ceiling fan and AC together. 

A ceiling fan can make your room feel up to four degrees cooler than the actual temperature. In other words, you can set your AC to a whopping 80-degrees, but running your ceiling fan will make it feel like it’s 76-degrees. 

Since your temperature is set higher, your AC unit won’t have to run as often, but you won’t have to suffer through stifling heat. This saves you money because the average AC unit costs 36-cents per hour to run while an average ceiling fan costs just 1-cent. 

In theory, turning your temperature up just four degrees can save you up to 17-cents per hour. That might not seem like much, but it quickly adds up during the summer when you might run your AC unit 24/7 for months at a time. 

Now, those are average prices. An old inefficient ceiling fan might cost much more than that while a highly efficient AC system could cost much less. 

However, there’s an even better way to save: if it’s not super humid, try giving your AC unit a break for a few days (or at least at night when it cools down) and relying on your ceiling fan instead. You can save much more money this way. 

If you’re unsure about your average per-hour costs, give us a call at Island Comfort. We can investigate your system, run a routine maintenance check, and let you know the best way to save money. 

No People = No Reason to Use the Fan

If there’s no one in the room to feel the wind chill from the fan, you’re wasting money. 

Fans don’t cool the air – they cool people. 

If you set your AC to 80 while you’re away at work, leaving your ceiling fan on won’t change how often the AC unit runs throughout the day. Running both when no one is in the room is a waste of money. 

Instead, use your ceiling fan and higher AC temperature in tandem while you’re home. Turn off the fan ASAP as you leave each room. 

Need Air Conditioning Services?

If you’re unsure about the unique needs of your home or haven’t had an AC tune-up this year, Island Comfort can help. Our experts can run a 32-Point Tune-Up to replace faulty parts, replenish coolant, and make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible. Upgrading to an energy-efficient system can save you even more money through monthly electric bills. 

Schedule an appointment with the experts at Island Comfort now or call 888-781-0364

Is Your Indoor Air Polluted? What You Need to Know

August 11th, 2020

Those Hawaiian trade winds do more than keep you cool on sizzling summer days. They also bring you clean and fresh air!

Living in Kona or on Kauai gives you access to some of the healthiest air in the country – possibly even the world. 

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for indoor air quality. In fact, many common activities – even frying an egg for your loco moco – can trigger elevated pollution levels inside your home.

By staying mindful of your surroundings and taking a few precautions, you can remove indoor air pollution and ensure your home’s air stays clean and healthy. 

Air Conditioner on the wall

Investing in a new air conditioning installation can make a stark impact on air quality too. Our expert technicians in Kona and across Kauai and Oahu can help you select the most efficient system for your home’s size. 

What are the Most Common Sources of Pollutants in Your Home?

Even before coronavirus struck the world, people spent an estimated 90% of their day indoors working, sleeping, or enjoying time with their families. 

Did you know pollution levels are up to 5x higher inside your home? 

Your daily activities, outdoor contaminants, and even merely existing can all introduce pollution into your home’s precious air.

  • Combustion Pollutants: Toasters, water heaters, tobacco smoke, and gas appliances can all release tiny contaminants into the air you breathe. 
  • Toxic Products: Cleaning products like bleach, bug bombs, or insecticide sprays all linger in your home’s valuable air. Many personal care products like soaps, nail polish, and perfumes can also seep into the air.
  • Building Materials: Surprisingly, many energy-efficient building materials also contain volatile organic compounds that contaminate the air.
  • Outdoor Pollutants: Naturally occurring radon, lead, dust, and smoke can all make their way into your home. In Kona especially, Mount Kilauea produces noxious chemicals, vog, and acid rain.
  • Mold: Hawaii in general and Kauai specifically are naturally humid, which can promote mold growth and pollute your indoor air.

Why Does Indoor Air Pollution Matter?

Breathing toxic air filled with mold and contaminants can worsen any health problems and trigger new ones.

It’s important to stay vigilant if you or anyone in your household suffers from a breathing condition like the ones below:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies 
  • COPD
  • A recent acute respiratory infection like COVID-19, the seasonal flu, or pneumonia 

The World Health Organization estimates that 4.2 million premature deaths are directly linked to poor air quality. Radon pollution is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

People often think all pollution-linked deaths stem from breathing problems, but that’s not the case. Yes, toxins enter your bloodstream through lung tissue. However, they also travel to other locations throughout your body like your brain and heart. 

In fact, air pollution is responsible for a quarter of all deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Home’s Air Healthy?

Outdoors, we rely on government regulations to keep Big Business in check and prevent air pollution.

Living near an active volcano, while mesmerizing, also means contending with air pollution from sulfates, heavy metals, and byproducts like volcanic smog. 

Fortunately, you can take a few steps to keep your home’s precious air clean.

Use a High-Quality A/C Filter to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

Choosing an HEPA filter is hands-down the best decision you can make to reduce indoor air pollution. 

Toxic particles from gasses, mold, and viruses are microscopic. You need a filter specially designed to trap these tiny particles before they’re blown back into your home. 

HEPA filters remove 99.97% of these airborne particles.

Contact the experts at Island Comfort to learn more about HEPA filters and expert air conditioning installation to improve air quality!

Switch to Natural Cleaning Products and Insecticides

Using natural alternatives for the following items (as much as possible) can reduce some indoor air pollution:

  • Aerosol sprays
  • Air fresheners
  • Dish soap
  • Bleach 
  • Furniture polish
  • Bug bombs
  • Roach traps
  • Bug sprays

Plus, many green alternatives are safer for pets too! Keep in mind that even plant-based items can produce irritants so an HEPA filter is vital.

Choose a Mini-Spit System to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

A mini-split system requires no ductwork. This alone can reduce indoor air pollution by eliminating hard-to-clean ducts where dust, debris, dead insects, mold, and toxins accumulate. 

Their small size means mini-split systems can reduce energy costs as well. 

While convenient, window units don’t filter air very effectively. A mini-split system gives you the air filtration benefit of central air with the compact size of a window unit. 

Call our expert team to learn more about how mini-split systems work!

Consider a New Air Conditioning Installation to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

An old A/C won’t filter your home’s air properly simply because it’s not running efficiently. 

Likewise, an HVAC system too big or small for your home’s square footage won’t support adequate airflow. 

If your system is more than ten years old, it might be worth investing in a new air conditioning installation. Call our knowledgeable team at Island Comfort to discuss your family’s unique needs!

Keep Your Home’s Humidity Levels Low

Humidity is a challenge across the islands. Unfortunately, heightened humidity levels in your home can encourage bacteria and mold growth. 

Always use an HEPA filter to remove current indoor air pollution. If your home is consistently humid despite running the A/C, you may want to consider a new air conditioning installation. The wrong size HVAC system won’t run properly which can lead to chronically high humidity levels. 

Expert Air Conditioning Installation and Upgrades in Kona, Kauai, and Oahu 

New air conditioning installation or upgrading your A/C can give your indoor air quality an instant boost. An efficient HVAC system sized correctly for your home will process all the air inside your home through the high-quality filter. 

Our expert technicians at Island Comfort can help you choose the perfect system and filter for your home based on your family’s unique needs. 

The expertise of the person installing your system matters just as much as the unit itself. Island Comfort technicians take several factors into account when installing your A/C such as square footage, insulation, and your home’s location on the island. We also continuously train our technicians so we can provide the best possible service to our beloved Hawaii residents. 

You can trust the experts at Island Comfort will take every measure to reduce your indoor air pollution and stay safe during COVID-19. Call today at 888-781-0364!

12 Questions You Should Ask Your HVAC Tech

August 1st, 2020

Our Island Comfort trucks are stocked with common parts so our expert technicians can complete repairs as quickly as possible. 

We might work fast but that also means you may forget to ask us some important questions about your HVAC system. 

Our technicians aren’t just experienced, they’re also filled with industry knowledge! 

Run through the list below. If something stands out, give us a call or ask us when we’re at your home for an annual 32-Point Tune-Up

From saving money and energy to improving efficiency and preventing system breakdown, you shouldn’t ignore these burning HVAC questions. 

1) Why is My Home So Dusty? 

If you’re fighting a losing battle against dust, that’s a sign your indoor air quality is subpar. 

If you can’t remember the last time you changed your filter, it’s time to change it. 

Using a high-quality pleated or polyester filter is the best way to trap dust before it cycles back into your home. Not only will you have to dust less frequently, but your lungs will thank you, too. 

2) How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs? 

Hawaii residents pay some of the highest electricity bills in the country. Your air conditioner, while important, is likely the largest contributor to your sky-high electric bills. 

Your Island Comfort HVAC technician is full of tips to help you reduce your energy costs. 

  • Upgrading to an energy-efficient HVAC system can save you hundreds each year. 
  • Old HVAC systems, in general, won’t run as efficiently as they used to and use more power. 
  • Faulty parts may cause your air conditioner to draw more power than necessary. 
  • An HVAC system too large for your home will drive up your electric bill. 
  • Poor insulation will cause cool air to seep out and hot air to enter your home, causing your system to work overtime. 

Schedule an appointment and we can investigate ways for you to save money each month! 

3) Do I Need Attic Insulation? 

The hot Hawaiian sun beats on your roof all day. Without attic insulation, your HVAC system has to compensate for that extra heat. 

An Island Comfort technician can let you know if installing attic insulation can slash your energy costs and reduce stress on your HVAC system. 

4) Would I Save Money on Air Conditioning Services by Replacing My System? 

In some cases, the costs associated with maintaining and repairing your HVAC system will outweigh the cost of purchasing a new system. 

When you need a large repair, make sure to ask your technician if it would cost you less to simply upgrade the entire system. Your Island Comfort tech will always let you know the best way to save money. 

5) What Will Void My Warranty? 

Did you know that popping the hood and attempting DIY repairs could void your warranty? (Plus, it’s extremely dangerous.) 

Ask your Island Comfort technician which maintenance tasks you can (and should) do yourself and which are best left to the professionals. 

6) How Often Should I Replace My HVAC Filter? 

Each home is unique. While it’s always smart to use the highest quality filter possible, how often you should change it isn’t so finite. Generally, you should replace every: 

  • 90 days for homes without pets or allergies 
  • 60 days for homes with one pet 
  • 30 days for homes with more than one pet OR a family member with allergies or breathing problems 

Your Island Comfort technician can analyze your unique living situation and provide you with educated suggestions. 

7) How Can I Avoid Emergency Repairs? 

Many costly repairs can be avoided with simple routine maintenance. During a 32-Point Tune-Up, your technician will replace faulty parts and look for potential problems. Proactive maintenance helps you prevent larger problems. 

Additionally, you’ll want to keep your fan and evaporator coils clean. Built-up debris, dust, and dead insects can clog your machine, cause it to run inefficiently, AND lead to expensive repairs. 

8) How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality? 

Keeping up with air filter replacements is the easiest way to improve your indoor air quality. However, it’s also important to keep the humidity levels in your home low to prevent mold and bacteria growth. 

To keep your indoor air quality safe, you should: 

  • Make sure your evaporator coil is clean. 
  • Keep your refrigerant fully charged. 
  • Lower your fan speed. 
  • Consider installing a thermal expansion valve. 

Your Island Comfort technician can help you figure out how to do all of the above during a routine maintenance check

9) What is This Funny Smell or Sound? 

Any smell, such as mildew or burning, suggests a larger problem with your HVAC system. The same rule applies to any unusual sounds like rattling or screeching. 

Don’t hesitate to contact Island Comfort for a checkup if you’re noticing any strange behavior from your HVAC system. We can replace faulty parts and clean your system up before larger (and more expensive) repairs become necessary. 

10) Why Do My Lights Flicker When My AC Kicks On? 

If you notice your lights flicker or dim when you turn your AC on, that’s not normal. In most cases, any electrical changes tell us that your HVAC system is too large for your home. 

11) Why is the Temperature Uneven in Each Room of My Home? 

Uneven temperatures could signal many problems, such as: 

  • Poor airflow 
  • An inefficient HVAC system 
  • Clogged filter 
  • Dirty coils 
  • Low-quality insulation 

You might be experiencing one of those issues or several. Our expert technicians can get to the bottom of it! 

12) Can You Show Me How to Clean My System? 

We’d be happy to clean your HVAC system for you during your annual maintenance check. However, we can also show you how to complete basic tasks yourself – such as cleaning your evaporator coils. 

Just ask us during a 32-Point Tune-Up

Need Air Conditioning Services? Call the Experts! 

Did any questions stand out? Don’t wait for problems to get worse: they never get better on their own. 

Our experts at Island Comfort will get to you as fast as possible and arrive with a fully stocked truck. We can complete many common repairs on the spot and provide you with expert guidance to care for your HVAC system. 

Don’t neglect your HVAC maintenance! Schedule an installation now or call 888-781-0364